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Recruitment and Retention of Faculty of Color in Southern California Independent Schools


This qualitative study examined recruitment and retention of faculty of color in independent schools in Southern California. Seven administrator interviews captured the perspective of school leaders involved in hiring efforts at their schools, and nine faculty of color were interviewed to further explore themes that arose around recruitment practices and retention challenges in a faculty questionnaire completed by 84 respondents. The list of the highest priority factors candidates consider in choosing a school varies from person to person, but as a group the data show that faculty diversity, student diversity, and a commitment to professional development to allow for ongoing growth- on the personal and community level- are aspects of high value to candidates of color. Resilient candidates may still be successful at schools where they face challenges and cultural conflicts, but contentment and fulfillment happens only when a majority of a candidate’s personal values align with those of the school. Therefore the recruitment phase is critical in exploring this alignment, and support systems such as mentoring programs and faculty of color affinity groups are important in increasing retention after hiring. Ultimately a school’s commitment to diversity has to be supported by the school leadership. School leaders must take proactive measures in creating ongoing conversations, education for the community to address misconceptions around diversity, articulation that diversity strengthens teams, and thoughtful recruitment and retention procedures and systems to truly live out their school’s commitment to diversity.

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